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A small crab rests on a fingertip.
Pontianacense This species of crab was discovered for the first time in Hong Kong. © Dr. Bayden Russell

Hong Kong Projects

A Tiny Crab in Hong Kong is Showing Big Promise for Oyster Reefs

A small crab was discovered for the first time in Hong Kong on TNC's project reef.

 Using the shellfish restoration expertise gained from over 150 projects around the world, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has embarked on an ambitious effort to understand and quantify the critical ecological benefits of oysters and to restore shellfish reefs in Hong Kong.

In partnership with the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS) of the University of Hong Kong and the support from local community, in May 2018, TNC deployed their very first pilot reef in Lau Fau Shan, Deep Bay, to understand the impacts of local restoration. In May 2019, TNC deployed their second pilot reef using discarded oyster shells in a different part of Hong Kong, Tolo Harbour. Together, the global conservation organization is conducting research to guide future restoration efforts across the region. 

Recently, Dr. Bayden Russell and Mr. Steven Wong of SWIMS made a discovery on TNC’s oyster reef in Lau Fau Shan. A small crab (Nanosesarma pontianacense) was recorded for the first time in Hong Kong.

It is exciting to see this crab in Hong Kong for the first time. The discovery demonstrates that reef restoration provides homes for species that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

Associate Director of the Swire Institute of Marine Science